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Showing posts from 2016

Caving With Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Council 11-18-18

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Yes, they were at it again. This time there were two new Troops to introduce to caving. Eastern PA Council set this one up at the same time as the one in October. This trip originally had sixteen people, but one Troop backed out at the last minute. It’s a shame because they missed a very good time with these girls. Maybe they’ll come out again when they can. We have been having a tremendous amount of rain and unprecedented snowfall for this time of year. As a result the cave actually had a good bit of water in it.

I like to use this cave for beginner trips because it is stable. But I’ve never seen this much water in this cave. Parts that usually have a little sticky mud had water over the top of my thigh. I choose to avoid the lower parts of the cave. For most of the girls this was their first wild caving trip. I didn’t want to take any chances with them and I didn’t want anyone cold and miserable. But they all got very muddy, and had a blast. How could I tell? Watch the video. L…

West Chester University Caving Trip

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On November 5, 2016 I had the pleasure of taking the West Chester University E.A.R.T.H. Club on a caving trip. Two of them have caved with me before. But, for the other four, this was their first time caving.



 I was a little concerned when one of them said that she was a little claustrophobic. I explained that if there was anything they did not want to do, they have no obligation to do everything. There is always another way around in this cave. They all surprised me.

Not only did they go through every tight passage I could find, they climbed and squeezed spots most groups never attempt. As Michelle said, “They are fiercely brave.”

This was just a small group from the club. The idea was they would schedule more than one trip so everyone would have a chance at a great trip. If this is an indication of what the rest of the members are like, the next group should be awesome, too.

I’m hoping that they consider going on more challenging trips in the future. There is a lot they can look for…

Taking Troop 855 Caving

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This past Spring I ran into Mike Rogers at the BSA NER Area 6 Phenomenon. I was there with the squeeze box promoting cave exploring to the Venturers. Mike was interested in taking his Boy Scout Troop caving.

After a while of playing tag with emails, we came up with July 1 as the day we would be taking members from Troop 855 caving in central Pennsylvania.

Troop 855 is a large Troop. The group that went was a small portion of the Troop. We’ll get the others underground at a later date. But these guys are going to take back some good stories from their day underground.

Want more proof? Here’s the video. Well, about 5 minutes of the three hour trip.


This is the premier of the new "Relax, the caver is here!" t-shirt.  Just $24.95 and FREE SHIPPING Buy Relax, the Caver's Here Short sleeve men's t-shirt

CAVING IS DIRTY BUSINESS

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Project C.A.V.E.S. (Creative Adventures and Valuable Experiences through Spelunking) provided 18 high school students from across the state an authentic immersion in science outside of the classroom.  This seven day residential program for gifted science students was provided by a competitive grant from the Department of Education and hosted by the Ozarks Unlimited Resources (OUR) Cooperative on June 12-18.  Shelley Tomlinson, OUR Science Specialist and Sandra Johnson, OUR Gifted specialist worked together to secure the grant and administrate the program.  

The OUR Cooperative partnered with the National Park Service to provide a week of unforgettable learning experiences.  Buffalo National River Aquatic Ecologist Faron Usrey worked closely with the OUR staff to provide the facilities, caving equipment and access needed for a phenomenal experience. The students were housed at two Buffalo River ranger station locations including Toney Bend, near the Rush community, and Steel Creek, near…

September Newsletter 2016

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Blog Post from August 2016Setting Up A Cave Exploring Display Table This past year I was invited to a few events, held by other organizations, to set up a display and talk about why I take kids caving. As much as I enjoy it, I was not really prepared. I had some brochures and a few pictures and props, but nothing that made my display stand out in a room full of other displays.




Behind the Scenes of YOUCave As some of you know, YOUCave is growing. What was once was a hobby blog has been becoming a full blow movement. What is the goal? For now it is to become a sustainable nonprofit on a mission.

Mission
To engage youth in unique underground discoveries that are coordinated to safely provide heightened sensory experiences and challenging physical and mental opportunities that build confidence, courage, and perseverance.

Vision
To provide groups and organizations our resources to strengthen their youth programing with cave exploring opportunities that promote environmental and cave conser…

Behind the Scenes of YOUCave

As some of you know, YOUCave is growing. What was once was a hobby blog has been becoming a full blow movement. What is the goal? For now it is to become a sustainable nonprofit on a mission.

Mission To engage youth in unique underground discoveries that are coordinated to safely provide heightened sensory experiences and challenging physical and mental opportunities that build confidence, courage, and perseverance.

Vision To provide groups and organizations our resources to strengthen their youth programing with cave exploring opportunities that promote environmental and cave conservation.

Values Providing youth safe, fun, intentional and educational caving opportunities regardless of financial means.

What do you think?

 Questions?
If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society - Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can em…

Setting Up A Cave Exploring Display Table

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Sales and marketing are dirty words for most people. But, when it’s something you love to do it’s a joy. I enjoy spreading the word about how easy and fun it is to take kids caving.

This past year I was invited to a few events, held by other organizations, to set up a display and talk about why I take kids caving. As much as I enjoy it, I was not really prepared. I had some brochures and a few pictures and props, but nothing that made my display stand out in a room full of other displays.

I posted on Facebook my dilemma and asked for help and suggestions. As usual, my friends didn’t let me down. There were many fantastic ideas. So many that I cannot incorporate all of them right now. I have been able to use a good number of them. In the future I’ll be adding more of them.

I did a dry run to see what I have and set up the display table at home. I had to call in an expert designer to help me, my granddaughter Trinity. She has a much better sense of what looks good than I do.

Please don…

Newsletter for August 2016

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I want to welcome all the new subscribers to YOUCave.  I hope you find this entertaining as well as informative. If you have any questions about taking youth cave exploring, or you have a suggestion for a topic you think I should explore with everyone, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

Blog Posts Brandywine Red Clay Alliance Summer Camp Explores Wind Cave The BRCA campers spent 2 hours exploring different parts of the cave. But it's so big they did not get to see all the rooms and passages. Hopefully, these campers will back again and see more of the cave.

Updates to the Website I added a couple pages to the YOUCave.org website. Let me know what you think.

Speaking Page Yes, I do give talks. Mostly these are "Cave Talks" to the youth groups that I take cave exploring. I have done a couple of talks at libraries and for Powder Horns. I enjoy doing these and I'd like to do more this year.
If you would like to book me to give a talk, send me an email or c…

Brandywine Red Clay Alliance Summer Camp Explores Wind Cave

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Brandywine Red Clay Alliance (BRCA) is a great organization. Their summer camp program is fantastic as well.

It started in 1945 as the Brandywine Valley Association, in West Chester, PA, and merged with Red Clay in 2005 to form the Brandywine Red Clay Association.

The Myrick Conservation Center is the headquarters of Brandywine Red Clay Alliance as well as a 318 acre outdoor education center. The summer camp program is held at the Center, but ventures out to explore other local natural interests.


Since 2007 I've been fortunate enough to be able to contribute to their program. This year was no exception. I guided a group of 12 campers, councilors, and staff to explore Wind Cave in Pequea, PA.
Wind Cave, or as it's sometimes called Cold Cave, is a large tectonic cave. Unlike the more well known solution caves, tectonic caves are formed by plate shifts. There are no formations in the cave, but there is plenty of climbing and crawling.

Unfortunately, it is a popular cave that gets…

Newsletter for July 2016

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Blog Posts in June
Venturing Crew 94 Cave Exploring in Virginiaby Makinzie Ackroyd

Venturing Crew 94, from Kimberton, PA, is a small group but very active. From June 13th to the 16th, this small coeducational group went to Virginia for some adventure.


Top Post on Facebook Petzl Newsletter If you don't get the Petzl newsletter, I want to share something profound from the last one I received. It is concerning climbing, but transfers over to caving easily.


Signature Rock Discovery Tour Family fun destination Howe Caverns Adventure Park, has unveiled it's newest and "oldest" cave tour. the Signature Rock Discovery Tour. The 2.5 hour exploration tour reveals mysteries of portions of the cavern that have not been open to the public in over 100 years.

Questions?? If you want more informtion about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved in getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society, Youth Group Liaison Committee

Venturing Crew 94 Cave Exploring In Virginia

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by Makinzie Ackroyd

Venture Crew 94 from Kimberton, Pennsylvania is a small group but very active. On June 13 to the 16, this small coeducational group went to Virginia for some adventure.


This amazingly group went underground and explored the earths caverns (and some clay art). After climbing around and getting dirty, we were lead into the cool stream of the underground to a magnificent waterfall.  After some pictures, we climbed out, though some carried on to explore more while others left to get changed and relax. That's not all we did.

The next day, Wednesday June 15, we went kayaking down Green Briar Creek. After all that adventure, it only gets better.  The very next day, we combined the activities from the two prior days. Now this is what people call an underground adventure, we will never forget.

This Venture Crew is not just caving. We go camping and on new adventures all the time. A few years ago on another summer trip we went zorbing, an activity where they climb into gi…

Newsletter June 2016

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Blog Posts in May


Sometimes Caving Is Just Fun
It’s all fun and games till, well, till we’re done having fun and games.  And sometimes caving can be just fun and games. The Philadelphia Grotto (www.phillygrotto.org) is a chapter of the National Speleological Society (www.caves.org). Dragon Breath Grotto (www.dragonbreathgrotto.org) is a caving program for Scouts that the Philadelphia Grotto passionately supports.



Top Posts in May on Facebook

Federal Crimes at Mammoth Cave National Park

Ask a Southeastern archeologist if she studies cavemen…and she may tell you that she does! SEAC archeologists Robert Hellmann and Timothy Roberts have just returned from a week of site condition assessments at Mammoth Cave National Park (MACA).


Appetite for insects makes bats palatable
Bat Appreciation Day allowed people to focus on a little mammal that does not get enough credit, said Nicole Harmon, the center’s humane wildlife educator.



Harrowing Kentucky Cave Escape
   One day after 19 people trudged through…

Sometimes Caving Is Just Fun

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It’s all fun and games till, well, till we’re done having fun and games. And sometimes caving can be just fun and games.

The Philadelphia Grotto (www.phillygrotto.org) is a chapter of the National Speleological Society (www.caves.org). Dragon Breath Grotto (www.dragonbreathgrotto.org) is a caving program for Scouts that the Philadelphia Grotto passionately supports.

As often as possible, both organizations get together for caving and camaraderie. It’s a great time for the experienced cavers to spend some time with the youth sharing their love of caves. It’s a chance for the youth to give the adults a glimpse of the future of caving, and the outdoors in general, and show it is in good hands.
If you or your grotto would like to start a caving program in your local Scouting or other youth organization community, please feel free to let me know at allenmaddox@youcave.org.



Be A Supporter
http://youthverticalcavinggear.mydagsite.com/Our crowdfunding campaign is still going strong to raise mone…

Playing With The Squeezebox at Phenomenon 2016

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I have two videos I want to share with you today. Both of them are from the same event; The NER Area 6 Venturing Phenomenon. Or, as the staff call it, Phenom 2K16.
Just for those who don’t know, Venturing is a coed program of the Boy Scouts of America for youth who are 14 years old to 21 years old. The program is locally, regionally, and nationally run by the youth. Venturers represent the best youth you will ever meet. These are the next leaders of our country.
And they love to have fun.
The Squeezebox if self explanatory. Just watch the videos if you want more explanation.


Two guys tied the all time record for men’s. Two girls tied the overall record. All four will receive a Dragon Breath Grotto t-shirt for their efforts. I never thought I’d be giving away four t-shirts at one event. This is a first ever for me.
If you’d like to see more pictures from the entire Phenomenon, search your favorite social media platform for #phenom2K16. There were many other fun activities going on througho…

The Photo Shoot

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Gretchen is one of those kids who will do what she wants even when people say she can’t. When she joined her Venturing Crew she contacted me about taking her Crew caving. She had a little difficulty getting her Crew interested in going caving, but that didn’t stop her. She joined our Crew as well and started a very active caving career.
We jump ahead a few years and now she’s in college studying photography. Why photography? Because she wants too. And she is really good at it too.For a final grade she has to do a “behind the scene” photo essay. I’m still not sure why, but she asked if she could shoot behind the scene of what it takes to plan and follow through on a caving trip.
But this article does not have her photos in it. I’ll let her have all the thunder for that. This is just about the trip itself with the youth cavers that I have a great time caving with.




Be a Supporter
http://youthverticalcavinggear.mydagsite.com/ Our crowdfunding campaign is still going strong to raise money to…

Taking Troop 619 Caving

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Troop 619 is in Chester County Council, BSA in southeastern Pennsylvania. I was able to meet and go talk to them in person about caves and caving before we went on our trip underground. They are a great Troop with great leaders. I've met Ann and Raul before. They are dedicated Scouters who have a genuine interest in these youth and Scouting in general. It was a no-brainer to take their Troop on a trip that the boys came up with themselves.

When we all arrived at the cave they could hardly contain themselves. Five of them practically bursting out of the van with enthusiasm. I was a little concerned that this was their first trip and they would be apprehensive. I very quickly was relieved on this concern.

I did have some help for the day. Alex Diamond was along to make sure no stragglers were left behind and to take these guys places I can not. I also had Ed and Eliza from Philly Grotto along and helping out as well. We also had Doug Cook and a few members of Venturing Crew 51 along. …